Danyang HE, Ph.D.
School of Life Sciences
Laboratory of Neuroimmunology
Danyang He (1989-) received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with honor from Tsinghua University in 2011 and her Ph.D. degree in Integrative Biology from UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2016. She then moved to Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School for her postdoctoral training in 2017. She is a recipient of the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation postdoc award. She will join the School of Life Sciences at Westlake University as a Tenure Track Assistant Professor from 2020.
Our long-term interest is to decode the cellular and molecular circuits mediating the interactions between the immune system and the nervous system in development and disease. We are seeking to understand how innate immunity (e.g. microglia-mediated immune mechanisms) and adaptive immunity (e.g. lymphocytes) regulates early wiring of neural circuits during CNS development and modulates tissue immunity during aging, neuroinflammation, and neurodegeneration.
Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases. On one hand, perturbation of cellular intrinsic molecular circuits in neuronal lineage cells leads to disrupted developmental trajectory and function of neuronal cells; on the other hand, dysregulated immune cues could cause alterations in neuronal vulnerability and function. By integrating single-cell transcriptomics, functional genetics and systems biology approaches, we have mapped several distinctive gene modules and identified novel mechanisms that support microglia-mediated synaptic remolding and brain homeostasis. We also investigated the role of a panel of autism (ASD) risk genes in microglia and provided strong evidence for the causal contribution of microglial dysfunction to behavioral alterations associated with neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.
Our goal is to decipher the cellular and molecular basis underlying the reciprocal crosstalk between the immune system and the nervous system. We employ a combination of imaging, single-cell genomics, metabolomics, functional genetics, mouse models and neurobehavioral approaches to address these and other mechanistic questions. We are currently perusing the following directions:
(1) Regulation and function of microglia in neurodevelopment and neurological disease
(2) Meningeal immunity in brain homeostasis and inflammation;
(3) enteric glia-immune circuits in intestinal homeostasis and inflammation.
1. Weng Q*, Wang J*, Wang J*, He D*, Cheng Z, Zhang F, Verma R, Xu L, Dong X, Potter A, Zhao C, Xin M, Blackshear P, Rich JN, Suvà L, He Q, Waclaw R, Potter S, Yu G, Lu QR. Single-Cell Transcriptomics Uncovers Glial Progenitor Diversity and Cell Fate Determinants during Development and Gliomagenesis. Cell Stem Cell. 2019 May 2;24(5):707-723.
2. He D, Xu H, Zhang H, Christian E, Ding J, Nguyen L, Dionne D, Thakore P, Schnell A, Li S, Lorello P, Caldarone B, Rozenblatt-Rosen O, Regev A, Kuchroo VK. IL33 dependent metabolic fitness supports microglial activity and neurodevelopment. (In Revision)
3. He D, Wang J, Lu Y, Deng Y, Zhao C, Chen Y, Hu Y, Zhou W, Lu QR. lncRNA Functional Networks in Oligodendrocytes Reveal Stage-Specific Myelination Control by a lncOL1/Suz12 Complex in the CNS. Neuron. 2017 Jan 18;93(2):362-378 (Featured Article).
4. He D, Meyer B, Lu QR (2017). Isolation and Culture of Oligodendrocyte Precursor Cells from Prenatal and Postnatal Rodent Brain. Stem Cell Technologies in Neuroscience, pp 95-109. ISBN 978-1-4939-7022- 3
5. He D, Marie C, Zhao C, Kim B, Wang J, Deng Y, Clavairoly A, Frah M, Wang H, He X, Hmidan H, Jones BV, Witte D, Zalc B, Zhou X, Choo DI, Martin DM, Parras C, Lu QR. Chd7 cooperates with Sox10 and regulates the onset of CNS myelination and remyelination. Nat Neurosci. 2016 May;19(5):678- 89.
6. Lu F, Chen Y, Zhao C, Wang H, He D, Xu L, Wang J, He X, Deng Y, Lu EE, Liu X, Verma R, Bu H, Drissi R, Fouladi M, Stemmer-Rachamimov AO, Burns D, Xin M, Rubin JB, Bahassi el M, Canoll P, Holland EC, Lu QR. Olig2-Dependent Reciprocal Shift in PDGF and EGF Receptor Signaling Regulates Tumor Phenotype and Mitotic Growth in Malignant Glioma. Cancer Cell. 2016 May 9;29(5):669- 83.
7. Zhang L, He X, Liu L, Jiang M, Zhao C, Wang H, He D, Zheng T, Zhou X, Hassan A, Ma Z, Xin M, Sun Z, Lazar MA, Goldman SA, Olson EN, Richard Lu Q. Hdac3 Interaction with p300 Histone Acetyltransferase Regulates the Oligodendrocyte and Astrocyte Lineage Fate Switch. Dev Cell. 2016 Jun 20;37(6):582.
8. Lopez Juarez A, He D, Richard Lu Q. Oligodendrocyte progenitor programming and reprogramming: Toward myelin regeneration. Brain Res. 2016 May 1;1638(Pt B):209-20
Multiple postdoc positions are available in the lab. We are seeking independent, creative, and motivated postdoctoral candidates interested in neuroscience and immunology. Expertise in immunology, neuroscience, live imaging, molecular/biochemical biology or related areas will be the most competitive. A Ph.D. degree in a STEM field is required. The internationally competitive salary and benefits (including social insurance, medical insurance, etc.) are provided. Westlake University provides first-class research environment and infrastructure. Opportunities exist for personal career development.
Multiple research assistant positions are available in the lab. Expertise in mouse colony management, molecular biology, mammalian cell culture, animal models, or related areas is preferred. The internationally competitive salary and benefits (including social insurance, medical insurance, etc.) are provided. Westlake University provides first-class research environment and infrastructure. Opportunities exist for personal career development.